Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

Promoting tolerance and justice through knowledge and understanding

Flogging in Ardebil: Five Activists Received 30 Lashes Each for Alleged Disruption of Public Order and Peace

HRANA (Human Rights Activists News Agency) / ABF translation
April 7, 2016

“According to HRANA (Human Rights Activists News Agency), Tohid Amir Amini, Morteza Parvin, Meysam Jolani, Saleh Pichganlu, Mostafa Parvin, and Mohsen Mohsenzadeh received lashes in the presence of judicial authorities yesterday, April 6, 2016. They are all detained at the Ardebil Central Prison, serving their imprisonment for chanting slogans and carrying placards for the freedom of Abbas Lessani, at the Ardebil Football Stadium.

Branch Two of the Appeal Court of Ardebil confirmed the ruling of 3 months imprisonment and 30 lashes for each of these activists, issued by Branch 103 of the Second Criminal Court of Ardebil for carrying a placard demanding ‘Abbas Lessani and political prisoners must be freed,’ during a soccer game between two teams of Ardebil Municipality and Hormozgan Aluminum.

The primary court condemned each of these activists to 3 months imprisonment and 30 lashes for ‘disturbing public order and peace at the football stadium by chanting nationalistic and ethnic slogans.’

It should be mentioned that these individuals were tried separately for their objection to the Fitileh television show and for carrying placards in support of Abbas Lessani and other Azari political prisoners at the Takhti Studium in Ardebil. They are serving their imprisonment. Three of them, Meysam Jolani, Tohid Amir Amini, and Saleh Pichganlu, were condemned to a total of six months and one day imprisonment and 30 lashes. Morteza and Mostafa Parvin were condemned to 3 months imprisonment and 30 lashes, and Mohsen Mohsenzadeh and Sa’id Sadeqifar to 3 months and one day imprisonment."

ABF Note


Findings of guilt in the Islamic Republic of Iran's Judicial Proceedings

The Islamic Republic of Iran's criminal justice system regularly falls short of the standards for due process necessary for impartiality, fairness, and efficacy. Suspects are often held incommunicado and not told of the reason for their detainment. Defendants are frequently prohibited from examining the evidence used against them. Defendants are sometimes prohibited from having their lawyers present in court. Additionally, confessions, made under duress or torture, are commonly admitted as proof of guilt. Because Iran's courts regularly disregard principles essential to the proper administration of justice, findings of guilt may not be evaluated with certainty.

Corporal Punishment: the Legal context in the Islamic Republic of Iran

The Islamic Republic's criminal code recognizes corporal punishment for a wide range of offenses: consumption of alcohol, theft, adultery, "flouting" of public morals, and mixing of the sexes in public. Judges have the latitude to mete out corporal punishment for those sentenced to death. In such cases, the flogging is carried out before death to maximize the suffering of defendant. Aside from flogging, the Islamic Republic also employs amputations as a punishment for theft. In such cases, the defendant is taken to a hospital and put under anesthesia as his hand or foot is amputated. In some cases the left foot and right hand are cut off, making it difficult for the condemned to walk, even with the assistance of a cane or crutches.

The Islamic Republic's Systematic Violation of its International Obligations under International Law

The use of corporal punishment is contrary to international law and is addressed in several international agreements. Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which Iran has ratified, states that, "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." Identical language is also used in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Iran is also a party to. The strongest expression of international disapproval is contained in the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT). This treaty defines torture as, "any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as ... punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed." Although the Islamic Republic of Iran has yet to sign the CAT, the prohibition on torture is now considered jus cogens and, therefore, part of customary international law. Furthermore, even though the norm against corporal punishment is not yet a jus cogens, there is increasing evidence that it is illegal under international human rights law.[1] In Osbourne v. Jamaica, the Committee Against Torture (a body of experts responsible for monitoring compliance with the Convention) held that "corporal punishment constitutes cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment contrary to Article 7 of the Convention." The Islamic Republic of Iran's systematic violations of its obligations under international law have been addressed by the UN General Assembly multiple times, most recently in December 2007. In Resolution 62/168, the UN expressed deep concern with Iran's continued flouting of international human rights law, particularly, "confirmed instances of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, including flogging and amputations."